Bible Reading: Proverbs 17.13-18
He who returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house. 14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out. 15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. 16 Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense? 17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. 18 A man lacking in sense pledges And becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.
When I was a senior in high school I rocked when it came to accounting. So, I thought this is something I should do in college. I thought it was going to be a breeze much like high school accounting was. Well, I was in for a rude awakening. If God would never have called me to ministry I would have probably kept going after an accounting degree. But I am not sure I would have ever used it.
This is what Solomon is trying to communicate. It is foolish to buy wisdom when you do not intend to follow it. It is like paying for a college degree, but you have no plan to put into practice what you are learning. Biblically speaking, wisdom is not by mere research or experience, but by a relationship. And this relationship is all about faith, trusting and depending on Jesus for everything.
True wisdom begins with the fear (respect) of God (Proverbs 1.7). This happens when God draws us to Himself causing us to understand that we need Jesus to save us from the depths or our sin and foolishness, that we need our sins forgiven by Jesus, and through this we alone can have eternal life. This is truly wisdom, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1.18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (those left in self-reliance), but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” So, our encounter with the wisdom of God begins when we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ by faith. True wisdom is as Proverbs 3.5-7 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
When we enter into a faith relationship with Jesus it effects how we live in relation to others. Our knowledge is not go to waste. We do not respond to good with evil, but instead we live differently as Jesus called us to even love our enemies (Matthew 5.43-48) and the apostle Peter exhorts us to give a blessing when insulted or shown evil by others (1 Peter 3.8-9). We also do not let trouble with someone else get to a certain point. When we do it is a like a dam that has a small break put then busts open. We are called to put wisdom into action and live peacefully.
We also uphold what is right and celebrate justice and righteousness. We are to never approve of wickedness or look down on the righteous. Such is detestable to God. We are to condemn wicked acts and justify the righteous. We are to be those who speak truth in love (Ephesians 4.15).
Then we are to be a friend to others and be thankful for our friends. Friends stick close at all times. Proverbs 18.24 says, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Family is there in times of trouble, but a friend is readily available. Wisdom calls us to be a good friend and appreciate the friends God gives us.
Wisdom also calls us to be wise with helping others out. It is not wise to agree and to be a guarantee for someone. Agreeing to guarantee another’s debt is unwise because it involves matters quite beyond the guarantee’s control. Be wise. In situations like this emotion and good intentions seem to rule, but wisdom does not rest on those two things. It rests on the word of God. Trust in God and His Word.
Let us ask God for wisdom, put wisdom in action with a loving heart and not waste it.
Memory Verse: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17.22